In a small congregation in a tiny little town you find them; men and women who are faithful to the Lord, yet isolated and removed from the larger brotherhood. Perhaps you know of a sister who attends assembly faithfully, maybe she teaches a children’s Bible class on Sunday and spends her time at home in prayer and study of God’s word. Or perhaps, she sends cards of encouragement to anyone and everyone she knows of who needs that. Then again, maybe you know a man who is faithfully teaching the gospel in a remote mountain town. He trudges on from home to home, asking if they know Jesus. Maybe he prepares a sermon for each and every Sunday with great hope and inspiration, then preaches it to a handful of the faithful few. He travels to the nearby hospital to visit rooms filled with sick and hurting people and offers to pray with them and maybe he hands out a few tracts. These servants of the Lord are found in so many areas of our country and beyond in the mission fields. They have faithfully dedicated their lives to continue walking in the faith even when it may seem they are the only one.
Yet, they are not alone. Elijah felt alone, he told God:
“For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away.” I Kings 19:14
But God Replied:
“I will leave seven thousand in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.” 1 Kings 19:18
Imagine how encouraged Elijah would have felt if he had received word from one of these faithful seven thousand. Faithful brothers and sisters in the Lord’s church may often feel alone and isolated. But they are not alone. We are all in this body together. Have you ever thought about these men and women? Do you pray for them and their work? In what way do you seek to encourage them?
We are told to
“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11
The disciples in the early church encouraged one another through letters. Today we have easier and more readily available forms of communication, from email to Skype. But often, in these remote locations internet is unavailable. Or perhaps these faithful men and women in need of encouragement are elderly and have not embraced the modern ways. Does that mean we should forget about them? By no means, should they be forgotten. So let us encourage one another.
Writing letters or cards of encouragement are great ways to encourage those who may feel alone. Another way is when travelling, seek out a congregation that may be small in numbers. It may be easier to find the closest fellowship or the one you can get in and out of quickly so you can continue your journey. But think about those in the outlying towns, and imagine the joy you can bring to their hearts by going out of your way to visit with them. I personally grew up in a tiny congregation; when we had visiting members from other congregations it was so special to our family. We would invite them home for a meal and shared time with them for as long as possible because it was such an encouragement to our family. I know my mom, especially, was uplifted by these visits.
Those who could use encouragement:
From Your Own Congregation:
- Evangelist and/or his wife.
- Elders and/or their wives.
- Deacons and/or their wives
- Song Leaders
- Those who serve communion
- Bible class teachers
- The elderly and widows
- New Moms
- Home-school Moms
- Those who are sick
- Those who mourn
- Foster or Adoptive Families
Others in the Body:
- Foster Parents
- House Parents at Children’s Homes
- Evangelists and/or their wives from small congregations
- Bloggers who offer spiritual encouragement
- Newsletter, Tracts and/or Magazine Publishers
- Teachers and/or Professors from Bible Colleges and Preacher training schools
- Organizers of Lectureships
- Small Congregations
How to Find those in need of encouragement:
- Take a look at a copy of the Churches of Christ Directory, most congregations have one, there are also some available online, then find those listed that have small numbers. Send the whole congregation a note of encouragement, or perhaps one to their evangelist. Visit them when travelling near their area.
- Look through brotherhood publications for advertisements for children’s homes, Bible colleges, Missionaries. Then call the published number, or email the appropriate address and ask for someone specific that you can encourage.
- Visit trusted congregation sites from within the brotherhood, many of these sites include announcements and prayer requests on their pages. You too, can pray for these saints, even though you may not know them personally. If you feel compelled, contact the church office and ask for addresses, explaining who you are and what you are wanting to do.
- Take a close look at our directory for businesses and bloggers who are faithfully serving in the Lord’s work. Listed below are a few.
This is by no means an exhaustive listing, these are simply listed to offer you some ideas.
- Hope Harbor – Children’s Home and Family Ministries, Claremore OK.
- Bible Fun for Kids – Bible class ideas, free printables and much more.
- Bible Songs and More – Songs, Ideas, Activities For Your Bible Class
- The Journey of a Grieving Heart – Comfort for the Hurting One, Insight for the Helping One
- Heart Notes from Honduras
- Kendalls: on Mission – to Singapore
- Sewing for Christ– According to the Pattern
- Truth For The World -Global evangelism using media and personal ministries
- Church of Christ Disaster Relief, Inc. – Helping Victims of Natural Disasters, Nationwide
- Polishing the Pulpit – Yearly Seminar for Encouraging, Educating and Uplifting the Lord’s Church
- Christian Courier
- The Christian Chronicle
- Christian Woman
- Discovery Magazine – From Apologetics Press, Science and Christianity for Children
- Faithful Woman Newsletter – A quarterly newsletter.
- Gospel Advocate
- House to House, Heart to Heart
- iLuminate – Magazine for Christian Teens
- Virtuous Magazine– A Lifestyle Magazine for Christian Women.
Additionally, one of our Team members, Nadia Walker Smith, has started a Facebook community for those seeking to encourage through card and letter ministries. She shares great tips and ideas for what to write and who to write to. You can find that site at Cards to Encourage.